Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Repurposing Some Really Great Finds....

I just love finding old things at yard sales or flea markets and repurposing them. Today thought I would show you a few of my finds and how I repurposed them.

This is one of my favorites! I found this old bread box at a church rummage sale. As you can see, I already sanded it down and got it all ready for painting.

BEFORE:


 
AFTER:

 
I love how it came out! I think it would be a great bill pay/mail center. Everything can be tucked away and out of site when your not using it. I put this in my sale last fall and it was one of the first things that sold. I have to admit that I was secretly hoping it wouldn't sell, so I could keep it for myself. LOL!
 
This was another bread box that I tackled. It was pretty ugly, so I knew it was perfect for repurposing.
 
BEFORE:

 
AFTER:
 
 
I wish I would have taken a picture of it open, so I could show you the inside. I left the other side of the door unpainted, so that it can be used as a cutting board. Primitive and functional.
 
Okay, so how many yard sales have you gone to and they always have these old pictures that people are trying get rid of? I've seen lots of them in free boxes. Well next time you see one, go ahead and grab it. You don't have to like the picture, just make sure that the glass and frame are in good shape. This is one I bought for next to nothing. It was quite faded, but the glass and frame were in perfect condition.
 
BEFORE:
 
 
And just look at it now....
 
AFTER:
 
 
All I did was paint the old blue frame with some black craft paint, sanded it down a bit to make it look worn. Then I took the old picture out and replaced it with a calendar page. This is a great way to repurpose those old calendars that have really great pictures, but get thrown out once the year is through. This frame was quite large, so I just used some coordinating fabric from my stash as a background. Perfect for hanging over our mantle throughout the winter season.
 
I think we all remember the time where everyone decorated with geese and the colors blue and mauve. They were all the rage at one time. How does that saying go again? "Out with the old and in with the new old".  LOL! That is exactly what happened with this little goose.
 
BEFORE:
 
 
 
When I first saw this little guy, I knew exaclty what I was going to do with him. You can kinda see where I got a bit excited and made my cuts in the wood already. OOPS! I just pieced it back together to get the before picture that I just knew I had to have.
 
AFTER:
 
 
This looks so much better now!
 
Well, I hope I inspired you to repurpose some of your really great finds. Next time you visit a yard sale or flea market don't look at what the item is, look at it for what it could be.  You'll be amazed at your own creativity!
 
Blessings,
Julie
 
 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pumpkins ~ Yum!!



Fall is definitely my favorite season. I love it all! Pumpkins are just one of the many reasons. There are so many things you can do with them!

 
 

Look at all the cute little faces painted on these pumpkins!


Here are a few different pumpkins on our kitchen mantle. The second one from the right was actually made from a dryer hose!

Some other neat ideas for displaying pumpkins...

1. Put an old fashioned mask on them.
2. Wrap them in clear mini Christmas lights.
3. Use them as a flower vase for a fall arrangement.
4. Poke some loly-pops in them to hand out on Halloween.
5. Decoupage them.

There are so many ideas out there, but I have to say that my favorite thing to do with pumpkins is to cook with them. I love anything pumpkin! Here is a great recipe I found on pinterest.

Pumpkin Fudge

Ingredients:

3 cups granulated white sugar
3/4 cup melted salted butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
½ cup canned pure (unsweetened) pumpkin
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
One 12-ounce package white chocolate morsels (chips)
One (7-ounce) jar marshmallow crème
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil. Spray with nonstick spray.
2. Stir together first 6 ingredients in a 3 1/2- quart saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 234° (soft ball stage) or for about 12 minutes.
3. Once mixture reaches 234°, remove from heat and quickly stir in the white chocolate, marshmallow creme, pecans (if using) and vanilla until well blended.
4. Pour into the prepared pan. Let stand 2 hours or until completely cool; cut fudge into squares.

I have to say that I haven't tried this recipe yet, but I will definitely be making it before the week is out.

Do you have any favorite pumpkin recipes you'd like to share? I'd love to know what they are! I think we need to do a recipe swap with samples, don't you? Hmmm? Anyone interested?

Blessings,
Julie

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's Harvest Time.....

 
For generations here in Northern Maine, potato harvest has been an important part of who we are. Aroostook County, where I live, is also known as the "Potato Empire of the World". Schools are put on hold for 3 weeks once harvest begins, usually from mid September through the first part of October. This means that up here the kids go back to school 3 weeks earlier at the end of summer in order to compensate for the 3 week harvest break. Since the farmers all pay taxes to support our communities, they require the help of the students to bring in their crops.



 
Potato harvest has changed quite a bit since I was young. Way back then they had pickers. I remember all the very cold, early mornings, the long sections and the rotten potatoes that would get all over your gloves. EWW!
 
My father in law driving the tractor about 30 years ago.
 
While I am so glad those days are over, I can tell you that I am so grateful I got to experience it. The potato harvest is a great way for kids to learn what hard work really is, and it builds character. At least thats what my parents always told me. LOL! No really, where else can kids work really hard and earn a lot of money at such a young age? Kids as young as 8 were allowed to pick potatoes and earn money. This money was usually spent on new school clothes, boots, or a new winter jacket. If you were 16 or older you got the pleasure of working on a harvester, and that paid even more money, which back then might have meant a new leather jacket or skis. Whether in the field picking or on the harvester, the days were long and the nights were short, unless you were on the night shift ~ then the opposite was true.
 
 
 
 
Breakdowns were a time where you could take a much needed rest, a quick trip to the woods for a bathroom break, or if you had a long section, time to catch up. Hopefully they weren't an all day thing though, because time is money you know!
 
 
Breakdowns could also be a lot of fun, because you got to goof off a bit with your friends. I can remember some of us climbing inside an empty barrel and letting someone roll you around in the field. That's probably illegal today, though. LOL! We'd even have races to see who could run across the potato rows and be the first to reach the edge of the field. So much fun!
 
 
 
 
Today there aren't many small farmers around. The larger corperations have all taken over. The farmers don't require hand picking anymore and some have even gotten rid of harversters that use real people. They have been replaced by huge machines with minds of their own. Technology changes everything, doesn't it?
 
 
 
Many years have gone by since those potato picking days, and believe it or not, I grew up and married the son of a potato farmer. One of the best parts of having married into a farm family is that all three of our sons got to experience what it was like to pick potatoes. I am so glad they did! Our youngest son told us that it made him realize how important education is, because without it, it just means you have to do a lot of manual labor. Just that statement alone made it all worth it!
 
Do you have any potato harvest stories you would like to share? I'd love to hear them!
 
Blessings,
Julie
 
P.S. Thank you to Grass Farms for allowing me to take some really great photos!
 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Prize Goes to....


 
Michelle from Simple Pleasures!!!
 
 
Congratulations Michelle!
 
 
 
On another note......
 
 Our youngest son Andrew turned 23 today, Sept. 11, (I wrote this last night).  I can't believe he's 23! 
 
He's not big on having his picture taken, because he really hates the attention, but thankfully his girlfriend helped me convince him to let me take just one.
 
All three of our boys came over for a birthday supper. It's always so nice to have all the boys under our roof at the same time. We had baked stuffed haddock, twice baked potatoes, green salad and an apple crisp topped with vanilla ice cream for dessert. A bit unusual for a birthday cake, but none of us are big cake eaters and Andrew loves apple crisp.
 
 
You can see where I put 2 candles on the left and 3 on the right ~ 23! He really didn't want any, but everyone has to have candles to blow out on their birthday.
 
Well, everything has been cleaned up, the dishes are done and our boys have all gone home. It's been a busy day, but I loved every minute of it!
 
Blessings,
Julie
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Amish Way of Living...


The Amish are a devout people with a strong faith that live a very plain and simple lifestyle. By simple I mean...no electricity, cars, or indoor plumbing. By plain I mean...they only wear black or any other plain solid color, nothing bright. They have no buttons or other fancies on their clothing. In their place they use straight pins. I know what you're thinking...OUCH! But they do seem to manage.

We are in my opinion, very lucky to have an Amish community living nearby. They are the nicest of folks who are extremly hardworking and always happy to see you.


It doesn't take long to build up a homestead when everyone pitches in. A barn raising is a community event where the older and much more experience men direct, and the younger ones act as "gofers". The women and young girls are in charge of all the food and drinks. Doesn't that sound like a fun day? Free labor is what I'm thinking!

My husband and I have become great friends with some of the Amish families. We buy our eggs from them almost every week. Lately though, we've been getting them from my non-Amish real life sister. LOL! Thanks Robin!

 
My husband getting eggs from the Harvey Miller family.

We also love to go sit and visit with them. They love visitors! Lydia, one of the Amish ladies, used to ask me to come visit her in the afternoons while she rocked baby Mary to sleep for her nap. Mary is now 4 years old. I brought my neice over to visit and play with Mary and some of the other kids one day. It was so fun to watch them. The younger Amish children speak very little English if any at all, as Dutch is their language, but they were able to communicate without any problems. I don't think kids care about those sorts of things anyway.

I admire their simple lifestyle and often wonder if I could be as disciplined as they are, but I do love indoor plumbing and my washer. Maybe I could adopt just a few of the simple things....like riding in a horse and buggy. So romantic! I say that, but I haven't had to do it in the middle of winter when the temperatures reach well below zero. YIKES!

 
The Amish farms all look so inviting, don't they? Joe and I have driven by at night just to see what their homes look like when they are lit only by lanterns. So homey! Makes you just want to invite yourself in and warm yourself by the fire. Here are a few pictures of some of the farms.
 


 
 
I wish I could show you pictures of the inside, but the Amish don't allow that. I will tell you though that they are very plainly furnished. The kitchens have wood cookstoves and large harvest tables with either chairs or benches. Off that is the pantry where all the necessary cooking staples are kept. I think it's my favorite room. The living room is very sparse...a chair or rocker, and maybe a desk. The bedrooms have only a bed, desk and trunk. Very plain, but functional. Each family takes a turn holding "church" at their home. I think that is why the living room is so sparse.  Chairs get lined up in rows, with women seated on one side and men on the other. Everyone is dressed in their Sunday best and their is always so much food. It is truly a day of rest, as it should be...the Lord's day.
 
Here are a few more pictures to enjoy....
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I hope you enjoyed these pictures as much as we do. It certainly is a plain and simple lifestyle ~ One that my husband and I just love.
 
Don't forget to sign up for my giveaway! You have until Tuesday Sept. 11th. I hope you had a fun and safe Labor Day weekend. Summer is officially closed...until next year anyway!
 
Blessings,
Julie